Cherry Coconut Milk Smoothie

I’m in the midst of estimates. The estimates for flooring are over. Contractor chosen. Start date set. Now, we’re getting painting estimates. So far I have had 3 done and 2 more scheduled for tomorrow. It’s going to be a lot of work moving all of our small stuff out of the way and having contractors bombard our house for the next 3-4 weeks but it’s going to be so much fun to see our house transform into what we want it to be!

Cherry coconut milk smoothies

My craving for coconut has been out of control lately. From coconut yogurt, to coconut water, to coconut in protein bars and coconut flakes sprinkled on just about anything. I figured I needed to do something about it and incorporate more of it! I bought a coconut creme flavored protein powder and after two not so spectacular smoothie attempts, this version happened this morning. And may happen again tomorrow…

Cherry coconut milk smoothie

Strawberry Coconut Milk Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk (save the other half for the next days smoothie!)
  • 1 apple, core removed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 heaping cup frozen cherries
  • 1 large frozen banana, broken into chunks
  • 4 scoops Jarrow Formulas Greek Yogurtein coconut creme flavor
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Place all ingredients in a high speed blender in the order listed. Run on “smoothie” setting. Serves 2.
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Oat and Almond Spice Granola

On Saturday evening I discovered our water wasn’t working. How does water not work you ask? The hot water wasn’t coming out of the faucet at all and the cold water was trickling. There wasn’t enough pressure to flush the toilets. Panic! I called a local small plumbing company solely based on the fact that they were located close to our house. As I dialed I thought “I didn’t ask neighbors for a referral. I didn’t even read Yelp. What’s wrong with me?”. But Mike picked right up, confirmed based on my description that we probably had a pipe burst and told me that he had gone to 20 jobs that day! He agreed to help us come turn off the water BUT he couldn’t do the repair until today. We freaked because WATER. And then we freaked because COST. But we really got lucky. Our water was only out of commission for around 20 hours and the total repair cost under $400 (we had heard “thousands”). I still couldn’t help but think that I could have bought the crib I want for that money. BOO!

burst pipe

In other, less dramatic news, I had granola on my grocery list and completely forgot it. It was either run to the store or sift through the cabinets because I MUST HAVE GRANOLA! I chose to make some while waiting for the plumber.

granola fixin's

I made a similar granola a couple of years ago called Spiced Pumpkin Seed Granola. This version is better! The roughly chopped almonds have so much more crunch and flavor than the sliced almonds. Also, the balance of the other ingredients just worked better. I frequently have a issue with homemade granola being either to crunchy/over-baked or too soft. This was the prefect texture and balance of flavors.

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE COCONUT OIL GRANOLA

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE COCONUT OIL GRANOLA

The water is back, the dishes are clean and the plumber is paid. Still would have rather have had a crib!

Oat and Almond Spice Granola

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted raw almonds
  • 2 heaping cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raisins or dried cranberries, optional

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Chop the almonds coarsely and pour them into a large bowl.
  • Add the oats, salt, brown sugar, sunflower seeds and pumpkin pie spice into the bowl with the almonds and stir to combine.
  • In a small microwaveable bowl, combine honey and coconut oil, and heat for 40 seconds. Stir to dissolve the coconut oil and add the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the honey mixture over the oats and stir so that they are evenly coated.
  • Pour the oats evenly onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the oats for 5 minutes and then stir them around. Return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes (I cooked for 7). Watch closely so it won’t burn. (It didn’t look ready to me but I took it out, trusting the recipe, and I’m glad I did. The stated cooking time produces a perfectly crunchy granola)
  • Pour the granola and onto a piece of wax paper to cool. Spread it out into a thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • After it cools completely, break the granola into clusters and store in an airtight container.

I adapted this recipe slightly because I only had 2 cups of oats vs. 3. Also didn’t feel like getting the food processor out so I chopped the almonds by hand. Recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

The 17th was my Mom’s 59th birthday. Happy birthday Mom!!

ingredients for flourless chocolate cake

She stays away from gluten, so I went on the hunt for something that she could feel good about having a big ole piece of. After searching through some recipes that called for 3-4 different types of flour that I didn’t want to go out and buy, I searched for “flourless cake” and came up with this one. It was perfect for her birthday/Easter egg hunt/dinner at my sister Angela’s house.

melted chocolate chips, butter and sugar

This was the cake after baking and before it was inverted on to a cake plate.

flourless chocolate cake

I added sliced strawberries to the finished product.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

The cake is an amazing combo of cake/brownie texture. Very fudge-y but not heavy. Super smooth and moist. Ultimate chocolate flavor! Super awesome with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. One of those go-to recipes that will WOW your guests (from 17 months to 59 years).

nephews

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • Garnishes: sliced strawberries or raspberries

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too, then set the pan aside.
  • Place 8 ounces of the chocolate (2 cups of chips) and 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat (I used a large heatproof bowl over simmering water instead of placing the chips and butter directly in a pan). Stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Remove from heat. (Alternatively, you may use your microwave to melt the butter with the chocolate, if desired). Add sugar and mix well until it’s almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely. (I made the cake the night before, then made the glaze a little while before serving).
  • When cake has cooled, make the chocolate glaze. Melt remaining 4 ounces chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently smooth glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice.

Slightly adapted from Whole Foods

Homemade Cashew Milk and a smoothie

My first time making my own milk. And I didn’t even have to go out to a ccccccc-cold barn to do it!

cashew milk

First I soaked raw cashews in water overnight. After draining and rinsing them, you just blend them up with some good stuff like vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup and you have fresh nut milk!

Cashew milk

Frothy cashew milk bubbles!

cashew milk

I made this yesterday afternoon and this morning it was good and cold and waiting to be turned into my morning smoothie. For 2 of us I mixed up 2 cups cashew milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 large frozen banana and a tablespoon or so of chia seeds.

cashew milk, chia seeds, banana and blueberries

Purple Cashew Monster Smoothie! I mean…

Cashew milk, blueberry smoothie

Homemade Cashew Milk

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups water (divided)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dash sea salt
  • pinch cinnamon (optional)
Instructions
  • Soak the cashews in water at least 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator (I soaked min overnight through to the next afternoon and it worked great). Drain the cashews and rinse until the water runs clear. Add the cashews and two cups water to a blender. Start on a low setting and increase the speed until the cashews are totally pulverized. This could take 2 minutes in a high-powered blender or longer in a regular blender.
  • Blend in 2 cups more water, your sweetener of choice, vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon (optional). If your blender can’t totally break down the cashews, strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth (I used my Vitamix and did not have to strain it). Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. It should keep for 3 to 4 days.
Notes:
    • Yields about 5 cups cashew milk.
    • The ratio of water to cashews (4 to 1) in this recipe yields milk that is somewhere between 2% and whole milk in terms of creaminess. Use less water for even creamier results.
    • I used cold filtered water instead of straight tap water.
    • Recipe from Cookie and Kate

Summer Berry Pavlova

Considering I had never tasted one of these until I made one, I’m not sure why I was so drawn to the idea. I do know that I saw someone on the Food Network making one and that after hearing the descriptions of “crispy, chewy and light” paired with “homemade whipped cream” and “seasonal fruit” that it absolutely, positively had to be my birthday dessert!!

Here is the shell just out of the oven. It is full of cracks but most the imperfections get covered up by the cream! (**keep scrolling people**)

pavlova

My sister Zandria, soon-to-be brother in law Paul, my son Devin, Travis and I devoured this. Like all of it. Because I read that it would get mushy and be worthless after adding the cream and berries therefore not worth saving for the next day. We sat of the front porch after the sun went down and ate pie until the mosquitoes drove us away 🙂

summer berry pavlova

Excited about my new go-to summer dessert!

Summer Berry Pavola

  • 4 egg whites from extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the berry topping:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons Chambord
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Method

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
  • Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.
  • Bake for 1 hour. Let sit in oven for 45 minutes after baking. Cool on a wire rack.
  • To make the mixed berries: in a medium bowl add sliced strawberries, blueberries, liquor and sugar. Stir. Place in refrigerator until ready to use on dessert.
  • Right before serving make the whipped cream. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; add the sugar and vanilla about halfway through the process; set aside.
  • Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with mixed berries.

Slightly Adapted from Allrecipes